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Guest: Vaughan Munich
Explore The Beer Tents of
Oktoberfest In Munich

Story and photographs by Jack Vaughan

Jack Vaughan. Jack grew up playing football and would give his left arm for Manchester United. Although he's tough to get a hold of during the World Cup, his journalism background gives him an amazing platform for writing.

utumn is fast approaching, so put away your summer peach sangria and break out the frosted pints and steins, it's time for Oktoberfest and the best place to experience this festival is in the German city that gave us the Weissbier or white beer, Munich. With 14 tents offering scrumptious chicken, bratwurst and other foods, and of course, brews that are imported from around the world and Germany's best most intoxicating bier! Are you excited yet? Well hold on minute there buddy, before you start chugga-lugging you'll want to make a few plans so you and your friends aren't standing around with an empty glass in each hand. Follow these simple suggestions and your friends will be slapping you on the back and raising a glass in your name!

Decide When To Go

Using that ATM card to pull out the big bucks needs shouldn't be taken lightly. ATM skimming theft costs an estimated $1 billion, according to Lifelock. Make sure your identity is protected when hitting the festival. This time-honored beer festival is held from September 22nd to October 7th, so, it's probably best to go in September on the first or second weekend, rather than towards the end of the festival, in October. Once you have settled on which weekend you want to attend, the next step is to make reservations for airline tickets, hotel rooms and for a tasting table in the tents at the festival. The festival's main site offers lots of helpful information, such as suggestions for accommodations and recommended sites for flying and taking the train to Munich.

Map it Out

German lady downing a mug of beer

Fourteen tents can be a lot to take in when your visit is only two or three days long. Oktoberfest's main site has a map that you can download and print out, so you can chart out an easy and enjoyable course for your beer tasting exhibition. The map also includes detailed descriptions of what you'll find in each tent, how many tables are in each and lively pictures of previous festivals in each tent.

Remember to Eat

We know you and your friends are there to drink but it's a good idea to remember to eat too. The festival provides food that goes great with all of those delicious stouts and frosty pilsners, but you'll be feeling rather green early on if you forget to put something in your stomach. Most food options do involve meat, so you'll be hard pressed to find something acceptable if you're a vegetarian. If you're a meat eater, you'll be in heaven with a half chicken or a pork sandwich. If all else fails, Bavarian pretzels are provided in all of the tents and they're good at soaking up the booze.

Go for a Ride!

After you've spent your first day sampling all of the food and drink, check out the amusement rides and arcade games. They have beer gardens nearby, so you don't have to take a break from drinking, but it might be good to take in another side of the festival and get the full affect. While you're at it, give yourself an opportunity to explore the city of Munich from outside of the festival too. Seize the opportunity to do some exploring and observe historical buildings and landmarks that resulted from the bombings of World War II in Munich.

toasting with mugs of beer

Make sure you have a list of what you'll need to pack before you leave and take it with you, so you can remember what you brought. You might get souvenirs, so don't take too much with you, but a check list will remind you what you need to bring back, especially when you're bleary eyed after a weekend of pounding 'em back. Use these suggestions for your next trip to Munich's Oktoberfest and you will have a blast and your buddies will be singing "for he's a jolly good fellow!"

Related Articles:
Christmas in Munich; Big City Germany; Offbeat Germany; Berlin: Yesterday and Today; Small Town Germany; Berlin in 5 Hours; Augsburg; Saxony Steam Train

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FEEDBACK FOR PATTI

I enjoy your newsletters -and particularly Patti Nickell's article about the 'Pudding Club' in the Cotswold's. An old friend of mine is taking a holiday there this year and plans to try their Jam Roly Poly and Spotted Dick - amongst many!

--- John & Maggie - UK

FEEDBACK FOR JULIO

The way I read this article, you stayed at the "Breeze and Waves". Do you have any pictures of the cottages, and would you recommend to some first time visitors to Caramoan?

--- Richard Simons, Stockton, CA

Hi Richard,

Breeze and Waves was still under construction when I stayed there in Feb. 2010. It should be finished by now. You can see pictures of the resort on this page. We got to stay in one of the small cottages in the picture. I'll recommend it to budget travelers but you might want to look at other options. We chose it because of its location right by the beach. You can try other resorts in the Caramoan town proper (you have to get a ride to get to the beach and the jump-off point to go island-hopping but it's a relatively short distance). There are also two higher end resorts located on a cove and very near the islands: Gota Village Resort (unfortunately there is something wrong with their website right now) and its twin resort Hunongan Cove. Caramoan is a relatively new tourism development so resorts are just now being built.

You can go to this site for a good list of choices for accommodations in Caramoan.

I should add that it might be good to go to Caramoan (and almost anywhere in the Philippines) during the dry season from December to May. June to November are the typhoon months and sometimes typhoons will still come during early December.

Julio

* * * * *

Hi, I'm planning to go to Caramoan this coming May. Would you know the number of Breeze and Waves Cottages? Thanks!

--- Ann, Manila, Philippines

Hi Ann,

Breeze and Waves' phone number is 0908-2911072. Look for Freddie. Hope you have a grand time at Caramoan!

Julio

FEEDBACK FOR WENDY

For Nature's Playground: The South Island of New Zealand

Hi Wendy,

In winter, Heritage Heights Apts. now offers free shuttle service to and from Queenstown 24/7 to guests without cars. We own a 7-passenger 4-wd Toyota Highlander used specifically to taxi guests up and down the hill during winter months. We also run advance purchase winter promotions which include a 4-wd rental.

If any of your readers head over this direction, I will enjoy extending Heritage Heights hospitality!!

Cheers

--- Ailey, Owner, Queenstown, NZ

* * * * *

New Zealand text and pix top drawer! Almost as good as making the trip. ( but one still wants to. . . ) Full of useful detail. Only trouble with the website: It's tough figuring out which feedback goes with which article, and the more there are, the tougher it gets!

--- Ken W., Camarillo CA

Thanks Ken..."álmost" is right, you really have to experience the South Island firsthand. Granted this piece is long, but still all I can think about is how much I left out! I agree abut the relevancy factor re the feedback--it can be confusing...sometimes I have a "Wait a minute...what?" moment myself.

Thanks for writing,

Wendy

* * * * *

Okay Wendy, from now on whenever you book your travel, please reserve space for me. I will carry your luggage, bring you cold drinks, massage your shoulders, and change the film in your camera (oops, I guess you don't have to do that anymore). Wonderful ideas and recommendations. Can you get to New Zealand from Boston in less than a week?

--- Carl A., South Easton, MA

Ha ha ha Carl, you're quite the comedian! But you'd be surprised how short that flight feels. I suspect Qantas isn't the only airline who's figured out that 3 movies, 2 full meals, lots of snacks and a complimentary travel pack (eye mask, warm socks and neck pillow) equals a quiet, well-behaved cabin. It really isn't bad. Just fly direct--pick the shortest flight w/ no lengthy layovers and you'll be fine. Re: signing on as my Super Sherpa...why not? I think you know I seldom travel in anything less than Party mode. There's just that pesky background check...

Thanks for writing,

Wendy

For Excellence Riviera Cancun:

Wendy, I truly enjoyed your info especially since we leave in a week to celebrate my 50th Birthday. Was it necessary to make reservations at the restaurants? Was there a dress code for the restaurants? What would you recommend not missing while there? Was the spa experience worth it? Did you travel away from the resort while there? Thanks,

--- Kim P. Fuquay, Varina, NC

Hi Kim.

Sorry for the delay in responding...you had heavy competition with the holidays. Reservations at Excellence restaurants are not necessary and you will not find a wait. The dress code is basically no bathing suits and flip-flops...with a decided a mix of atmospheres. Mostly the open-air beachside spots are super casual, the rest slightly more formal. Truly, as long as you are clothed, I don't think you'd be turned away anywhere, though most people seemed to enjoy dressing up at night...I suspect more for their own pleasure than any sense of decorum.

The spa experience was worth it, though my favorite part wasn't the actual massage. The precursor was a 45 min. or so rotation from sauna to a series of (kind of wild) water jets which was very different and very cool, not just for women. In its' entirety, and with the serenity of the beach/champagne/strawberries, it was memorable.

We did not travel away from the hotel this trip, but the hotel is very helpful in arranging day excursions to fit your desires and you do not have to book these until you arrive.

Have a great time!

--- Wendy

FEEDBACK FOR NINO

I enjoyed Nino's contribution, since we all read about the frightening terrorist attack. Having travelled somewhat through India years ago, I am continually impressed with this country and the gentle spiritual aspects of this nation. Some day I look forward to going back. Nino has encouraged me. Thank you!

--- Yoka Y., Westlake Village, CA

FEEDBACK FOR RUSH & CHUCK

Dear Mr.s/counselors Brown and Koro,

Thank you for a very informed and succinct article on motorcycle accidents and the law. It inspired me to think about getting a motorcycle, but not have an accident. But, if I do I am now well informed with the basics of what to do providing I do not perish in the accident. Any tips about that too?

--- Unnamed

Dear Rush and Chuck,

I wish I had read your article before our camping trip the Friday prior to President's Day.

My wife and I were in a car accident on our way to a camp ground. We were "rear-ended" and the impact caused our car to crash into the car in front of us. The contents of the truck that we were riding scattered onto several lanes. It's a miracle our two dogs decided to stay inside the car. My wife and I were shaken up badly but despite the mess, I was still able to walk out of the car. I got the license plate of the driver in front of me but, to my surprise, after reviewing the little damage on his car, he then sped off. I didn't know you could do that! The driver who hit me from behind gave me his information and then he too left the scene without saying good 'bye. When the police arrived all I had to go by was the little information I had jotted down which I hope was truthful. What if it was bogus? What if I had written the plate number incorrectly? How would that affect my insurance? What if we were unconscious, who would have written down all that information?

I do have one suggestion if you are injured in an accident. The police asked if my wife wanted an ambulance to bring her to the hospital but we declined the offer. I remembered when I rode an ambulance years ago that it was not a comfortable ride. I was strapped to the stretcher and there were all sorts of medical equipment dangling noisily above me. As long as you are able, it is a more relaxful ride inside a car. Besides, isn't there a fee for ambulance service?

--- Dave S. of Pasadena, CA



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